This paper deals with the impact of rainfall-index insurance on the adoption of new varieties of durum wheat by Tunisian farmers. We use a mathematical programming model called ‘focus-loss’ to determine the optimal production of four representative farms in the region of Beja, in the northwest, with rainfall-index insurance and without rainfall-index insurance. Results show that the expected net incomes are higher under with rainfall-index insurance scenario. Furthermore, for the latter, optimal production structures include new varieties of durum wheat. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.